Having a chuckle here, but I really think my life would have made much more sense if I had understood early on that people often just really hate grace. Sometimes I even disliked grace myself and yet it still didn’t click in my mind that the concept can be really hard for people to swallow.
Grace is a complex subject, but it’s basically unmerited favor, a pardon, not getting what you deserve, not just complete forgiveness but a blessing heaped on top of it, too. Salvation, redemption, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is pure grace. We didn’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, and we’ve gone and gotten something for nothing. Nothing on our end that is, it cost Jesus plenty, but we receive Him as a gift.
We people tend to have this sense of fairness, of justice, and a desire to see people get what they deserve, the good and the bad. Ha! Mostly the bad. We want to see people held accountable. We want our enemies punished. We want our own righteousness to be self earned.
The Bible is really quite clear, we’re supposed to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, forgive 70 times 70 if necessary, and practice grace. Jesus says, “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you.” He also says, “therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Grace is very reflective, if we are receiving it from our heavenly Father than we are extending it to others. The more we understand our own need for forgiveness, the more we are able to forgive others.
Somebody scratched up the side of our car. I suspect it was probably kids on bikes who crashed and fled the scene. I try to live in this constant state of grace and let those kinds of things just go. Besides, stuff like that doesn’t provoke me too strongly, but hubby was quite annoyed. I’m not saying he is wrong at all, I totally get the feelings, and had it been something else, I would have been wailing about how unfair it was, myself.
Laughing here, one should never use one’s spouse as a sermon illustration, but I was really blessed by the man’s response, because in it I could see my own fears, my own need for control, my own desire for justice in his response. It’s like, I work hard, I’m entitled to the fruits of my labor, other people shouldn’t have the power to just take from me. It isn’t fair! This is unjust. It needs to be fixed, made right, those scales of justice must be rebalanced……
I did not really improve hubby’s disposition by telling him that what we are, “going to do” is simply pray about it and let it go, but he eventually came around, he got there too. Sometimes letting go of offense is a process.
Something I really notice in myself is fear, fear that the Lord may have forgotten me, fear that He may be unfair, fear that there isn’t enough of His goodness to go around, fear that He’ll leave me with the short end of the stick. Those are all silly, irrational fears, fears that deny the true nature of God, fears that live in scarcity rather than His vast abundance. They also show a lack of trust.
Don’t tell hubby, but at the end of the day, those silly scratches on the car were such a huge blessing, such a gift, such a time of rejoicing. We almost never pray together, but we did that day. We almost never talk about our feelings, but we did that day.
It’s a bit funny, I was stroking those scratches with some reverence, with some affection, just kind of the fine markings of a fond memory. I don’t want them buffed out or painted, they now have sentimental value to me, trivial little scars in the paint, but they remind me that scars can be a sign of great love, the tangible evidence of His grace.
I really love Doubting Thomas in John 20 and the way Jesus says, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
That verse once really lead me to believe that the Lord wants to be seen and known, that He desires intimacy with us. It was a huge revelation. It’s somewhat invasive to examine someone’s wounds, to open one’s self up to scrutiny in that way. I mean, He could have just said, “wutever, believe or don’t believe,” but He didn’t, He said, reach here with your finger, reach here with your hand…